The Year of the Dog

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Overview

It's the Chinese Year of the Dog, and as Pacy celebrates with her family, she finds out that this is the year she is supposed to "find herself." Universal themes of friendship, family, and finding one's passion in life make this novel appealing to readers of all backgrounds. This funny and profound book is a wonderful debut novel by a prolific picture book author and illustrator and has all the makings of a classic.

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The Year of the Dog

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Overview

It's the Chinese Year of the Dog, and as Pacy celebrates with her family, she finds out that this is the year she is supposed to "find herself." Universal themes of friendship, family, and finding one's passion in life make this novel appealing to readers of all backgrounds. This funny and profound book is a wonderful debut novel by a prolific picture book author and illustrator and has all the makings of a classic.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lin, best known for her picture books, here offers up a charming first novel, an autobiographical tale of an Asian-American girl's sweet and funny insights on family, identity and friendship. When her family celebrates Chinese New Year, ringing in the Year of the Dog, Pacy (Grace is her American name) wonders what the coming months will bring. Her relatives explain that the Year of the Dog is traditionally the year when people "find themselves," discovering their values and what they want to do with their lives. With big expectations and lots of questions, the narrator moves through the next 12 months trying to figure out what makes her unique and how she fits in with her family, friends and classmates. Pacy experiences some good luck along the way, too, winning a contest that will inspire her career (Lin's fans will recognize the prize submission, The Ugly Vegetables, as her debut children's book). Lin creates an endearing protagonist, realistically dealing with universal emotions and situations. The well-structured story, divided into 29 brief chapters, introduces traditional customs (e.g., Hong Bao are special red envelopes with money in them, given as New Year's presents), culture and cuisine, and includes several apropos "flashback" anecdotes, mainly from Pacy's mother. The book's inviting design suggests a journal, and features childlike spot illustrations and a typeface with a hand- lettered quality. Girls everywhere, but especially those in the Asian-American community, will find much to embrace here. Ages 8-12. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Grace Lin writes the book as she invents a protagonist, Pacy, who must have been much like she was. Pacy is confused about her identity. She has a Taiwanese name at home, but at elementary school where she is the only Asian-American, she uses her American name, Grace. Her mom is Taiwanese. Her Dad is Chinese. Is she Taiwanese- Chinese-American? And what will she be when she grows up? Pacy knows The Year of the Dog will be lucky for her. It was the year in which she was born and her mom tells her "since dogs are honest and sincere, it's a good year to find yourself." Will she be a scientist? A writer? This readable short novel is even more approachable because of its amusing drawings and instructive family anecdotes. Knowing the character is based on the author's life makes it really interesting to check how everything worked out on the author's website, www.gracelin.com. 2006, Little Brown, Ages 7 to 10.
—Susie Wilde
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-A lighthearted coming-of-age novel with a cultural twist. Readers follow Grace, an American girl of Taiwanese heritage, through the course of one year-The Year of the Dog-as she struggles to integrate her two cultures. Throughout the story, her parents share their own experiences that parallel events in her life. These stories serve a dual purpose; they draw attention to Grace's cultural background and allow her to make informed decisions. She and her two sisters are the only Taiwanese-American children at school until Melody arrives. The girls become friends and their common backgrounds illuminate further differences between the American and Taiwanese cultures. At the end of the year, the protagonist has grown substantially. Small, captioned, childlike black-and-white drawings are dotted throughout. This is an enjoyable chapter book with easily identifiable characters.-Diane Eddington, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Being Taiwanese-American is confusing, and being the only Asian kid in your elementary school-except for your older sister-is not always comfortable. Pacy has high hopes for the Year of the Dog, which, she learns, is a year for finding friends and finding yourself. The friend comes first: a new girl, Melody, whose family is also Taiwanese-American. Over the course of the year, Pacy eats at Melody's house, where the food is familiar but also very different, celebrates her cousin's Red Egg day, writes a story for a national contest, visits Chinatown in New York City and wins a prize. Not only does she feel rich, she knows what she wants to do with her life. The Year of the Dog turns out exactly as advertised. Elementary school readers will enjoy the familiar details of school life and the less familiar but deliciously described Chinese holiday meals. Interspersed with the happenings of daily life are her mother's stories of Pacy's grandparents' lives and her own struggles as a new immigrant. Occasional black-and-white drawings by the author enliven the text. This comfortable first-person story will be a treat for Asian-American girls looking to see themselves in their reading, but also for any reader who enjoys stories of friendship and family life. (Fiction. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316060004
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 2/28/2006
  • Series: A Pacy Lin Novel Series
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 690L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Grace Lin

Grace Lin is the award-winning and bestselling author and illustrator of Starry River of the Sky, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, The Year of the Dog, The Year of the Rat, Dumpling Days, and Ling & Ting, as well as picture books such as The Ugly Vegetables and Dim Sum for Everyone! Grace is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and lives in Massachusetts. Her website is www.gracelin.com.

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Read an Excerpt

The Year of the Dog


By Grace Lin

LITTLE BROWN FOR YOUNG READERS

Copyright © 2006 Grace Lin
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-316-06000-4


Chapter One

"HAPPY NEW YEAR!" DAD LAUGHED INTO THE phone. "Gong xi-gong xi! Xin-nian kuai le!" The phone had been ringing all night with relatives calling to wish us a happy Chinese New Year. If we had lived in Taiwan, we would be having a big dinner with all of our relatives-aunts, uncles, and cousins. But since we lived in New Hartford, New York, they called us instead.

"Yes," Dad said over the phone to Uncle Leo, "happy Year of the Dog!"

"What does it mean when it's the Year of the Dog?" I asked. Our kitchen was full of rich, heavy smells because Mom and Lissy were cooking the special Chinese New Year dinner. I was teaching Ki-Ki how to draw a dog for our decorations. "I know every Chinese New Year is a different animal, but is something special supposed to happen because it's the Year of the Dog?"

"Yes," Lissy told me, nodding her head so hard that her black hair swung back and forth. Lissy always thought she knew everything. "You know how they say a dog is a man's best friend? Well, in the Year of the Dog you find your best friends."

"That's true," Mom said, her hands mixing speckled brown meat, "because dogs are faithful. They say the Year of the Dog is the year for friends and family. But there's more to it than that. The Year of the Dog is also for thinking. Since dogs are also honest and sincere, it's a good year to find yourself."

"Find myself?" Ki-Ki said. "Why? I'm not lost."

We all laughed and Mom tried to explain.

"No," she said, "finding yourself means deciding what your values are, what you want to do-that kind of thing."

"Like deciding what you want to be when you grow up?" I asked.

"Yes." Mom nodded her head.

"Well," Lissy said, "I've decided I'm definitely NOT going to be a chef, because I'm tired of cooking. We still have to make the shrimp, the pork, and the vegetables. We're never going to eat!" "We will, we will," Mom said, and she looked at the clock. "Pacy, stop drawing and go fill the New Year tray." I went to the cabinet and took out the New Year tray. We had polished it so much that I could see myself shining in the red and black wood. I also took out a bag of the special Chinese New Year candy. It's very important that the New Year tray is filled with candy. If it's full of sweet things, it means your year will be full of sweet things.

Ki-Ki hung up our drawings and then came over to help me, though she didn't really help much. All she did was eat the candy. She loved New Year's candy. I don't know why. It isn't real candy like chocolate or lollipops. New Year's candy is sticky taffy melon candy, the color of the moon. Ki-Ki kept eating the candy, so I couldn't fill the whole tray. I looked in the cupboard for more, but there wasn't any more. But there were rainbow- colored M&M's. I loved M&M's. That's real candy. So I fitted the rest of the tray with that.

When Lissy saw the tray, her mouth made a big 0. "You can't fill the tray with M&M's," she told me. "It's a Chinese tray; only Chinese candy is supposed to go in it."

"But there's not enough Chinese candy to fill it," I told her.

We both looked at the tray. We couldn't decide if it was better to have the tray be half empty with only Chinese candy or full with Chinese and American candy.

Mom was frying food, so we took the tray to Dad. He scooped up a big handful of Chinese candy and M&M's and ate it.

"This way is good," he said. "We should have both Chinese and American candy for the new year. It's just like us-Chinese-American. I think it's going to be a very sweet year!"

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin Copyright © 2006 by Grace Lin. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 65 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(37)

4 Star

(16)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 65 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2006

    A Good Little Book

    Two young friends, Grace and Melody,hope the the year of the dog will bring them good luck and fortune. Grace also hopes that this will be the year she discovers her talent. Short chapters, clever illustrations and neat stories told by Grace's Mom make this a good book to read in your spare time. Girls might like this book a little better than boys.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2013

    Fantastic!

    This is a super great book. Grace Lin is super awesome and her memiors are cool, funny, and interesting with her multicultural family. This seiries is great and thia book is the best out of all of them.

    When Grace was about 10 she had a good friend named Melody. She was asian too. They both knew that the year of the dog meant changes and Lin captures the true spirit of making friends and being different.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2013

    Year of the Dog

    This book is great. It inspires you to find yourself and write a book. It shows a family with a great bond. I love the stories inside the story.This story is quite heartwarming and has an extraordinary idea.It inspires girls to take challenges even if they dont win. Grace aka. Pacy went through contests many times she did not give up until she won. Sisters would love to read this book together or alone.Even if you dont have a sister you will love it.This book is one you can not stop reading.All girls will enjoy.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2006

    The Best Book Ever!

    What I really liked about this book is that it explained some of the Chinese culture which was very interesting. What I liked best about their culture is that on the Chinese New Year they had real Chinese food and they filled their trays with candy. It was like a little party.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2006

    A Book Worth Reading but not Five Star

    I think this book is ok. I like the illustrations but the story is'nt all that intresting, but it's not too bad either. I dont think that there is much of a plot, the characters are very believable though. The setting, on a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being the most developed) would be a 6 beacause there are no pictures of the room but the word choice and details are extraordinary. There are lots of themes but they are'nt all clearly stated.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2012

    Extrordanaryly good

    Now i know how to make a dog by starting off with the number five i give this book a 1,000,000 out of1,000,000

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 14, 2011

    It was ok

    Ok bexause it was kind of boring when grace was complaning because she hates nutricius food like brown rice and uncooked vegetables

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2006

    Super resource for girls looking for their cultural identity

    Grace Lin¿s debut children¿s book, The Year of the Dog, centers around a little girl named, well, Grace Lin. The author admits this book is based on her childhood as a budding artist and Taiwanese American growing up in Upstate New York. ¿¿this is the book I wished I had growing up,¿ Lin relates on the back cover flap. The clever storyline interweaves old traditions with new ones. The book is structured with stories inside of stories. Interludes such as ¿How My Name Changed from Pacy to Grace¿ and ¿Mom¿s First Day of School¿ meld backstory with the plot of a remarkable little girl with a big heart. What makes this book highly relatable to young girls is the protagonist¿s real-life quest to find herself. Using the Chinese Year of the Dog as the framework for the story, Lin builds the book around an entire year filled with celebrations, school projects and relationships. I would have liked to see more external dialogue about how others viewed the little girl, Grace. The author made it sound as if only the protagonist herself was conflicted. I was left wondering if her non-Asian classmates, teachers and community were always as accepting of her as she portrayed them to be. She dismissed this topic by creating her best friend, Melody Ling, the only other Asian-American girl in school. As a non-Asian American, I found the illustrations enlightening. For instance, Lin depicts her grandmother with her tiny feet which, according to Chinese tradition, had been bound as a child. She shows the picture of a pioneer doll which no doubt had blonde hair and blue eyes. The classic misunderstanding of what both mother and daughter mean by a china doll underscores the painful realization of being caught between several cultural worlds. This book is instructive and empowering for young girls. I recommend it as a resource for anyone struggling to find herself in today¿s motley world. Christine Louise Hohlbaum, American author of 'Diary of a Mother' and 'SAHM I Am: Tales of a Stay-at-Home Mom in Europe', lives near Munich, Germany, with her husband and two children.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2012

    Worst book i have ever read!!!!!

    The story is so boorrriing

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2008

    A great book? Maybe not.

    I don't think this is a good book. The details are poor, and the plot falls apart. I almost fell asleep while I read it.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2014

    BEST BOOK EVER

    That is the best

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    Great book full of fun

    A heartwarming adventure about culture,family, friends, and hope throuh tough situations.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2014

    Harergirl

    Best book ever

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2013

    Great book!

    Good book I have read it and loved it is a great book!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2013

    Nice BOOK NICE BOOK

    Greaat book
    I Like this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2013

    Nice

    You must read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. It is about a girl named Minli and a dragon. They are trying to change Minli's poor fortune.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2013

    The year of the dog

    I love the book

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2013

    Alexis

    Who ever does not like this book your opinion is wrong

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2013

    Cool book

    Pretty good

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2012

    Great story

    I cant stop reading it is so good

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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